Bust of Thai Buddha

Copper alloy
15th century, U-Thong style
H. 61 cm or 24 in

Detailed file

Category: Tag:


This majestic bust of Buddha from Thailand, dignified and of significant size, is a rare U-Thong image from the 15th century. In this Buddha measuring more than 60 cm high, it is with great subtlety that the Indian-influenced Dvāravatī style, the Lop’burī Khmer style and the characteristic Thai style of the Sukhothai Kingdom are interwoven. Indeed the shape of the face, powerful and inscribing itself in a square, perpetuates the “Khmerizing” art. The fine facial lines with the aquiline nose and the very graphic arched eyebrows, refer to the classic style of Sukhothai. The uṣṇīṣa here surmounted by a flame-shaped rasmi is removable and still comes from the kingdom of Sukhothai. The proportions of the torso tend towards more softness and elegance.

The incredible patina of the bronze and important remains of red lacquer and gilding are still visible. In addition, the incrustations made of mother-of-pearl are preserved in the eyes and strengthen the expression of majesty emanating from this Buddha.

This piece whose iconography is fundamental in Buddhist art, represented the Awakened One sitting in virāsana and calling the Earth to witness his Enlightenment (bhūmisparśa mudrā).


Provenance: Private collection, France, acquired from La Compagnie de la Chine et des Indes, Paris, 9 February 1970.

Art Loss Register Certificate, ref. S00132911.